A new $6.8bn road contract could attract thousands of overseas workers to Australia.
A job advert has already been posted for an immigration adviser to process 457-visas, suggesting that a large number of overseas nationals will be recruited to help with the Australian road project.
The advert was posted by Spanish company Acconia, who are one of the East West Link road contractors. The advert states that they are looking for someone over a 'busy' six-month period. It therefore seems likely that there will a high volume of visa applications. The job description also requires that the immigration consultant will need to 'collect required documentation' and process 457 visas for immigrants who want to work in Australia.
This has infuriated many union bosses in Australia, who are angry that temporary foreign workers are being sought when there are local people looking for work.
Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) boss, Ged Kearney is shocked that the first job posted is one for someone to process visa applications.
She said: 'the ink is barely dry on the contract and there's already a job advertised for an immigration adviser to manage 457 visa applications for the East West Link project.'
'This project is being paid for by both the Victorian and federal governments – how can they allow temporary workers to be brought in from overseas when there are Victorian and Australian workers desperate for jobs?'
However, the job advert was defended by Victorian Premier, Denis Napthine, who confirmed that many jobs would still be available for local workers. But he explained that there were some skills and some equipment that simply wasn't available in the Melbourne area and so would have to be sourced elsewhere.
He said: 'I would imagine that every possible job that can be delivered by local people will be delivered by local people. We want to maximise local employment.'
But he added, 'I am unaware whether there is sufficient local expertise to man and operate that tunnel boring machine.'
The road, which will connect two freeways in Melbourne, will create around 3,700 jobs in total. Ministers have reassured residents that equipment and materials for the project will be sourced locally.